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Teacher criticised in Co Antrim school probe allowed to stay in post

A teacher at a Co Antrim school strongly criticised by inspectors has been allowed to remain in their post despite being deemed “unsatisfactory”.

The Belfast Telegraph revealed last week that the principal — Dr Annabel Scott — had been removed from Crumlin Integrated College following the publication of a hard-hitting Education and Training Inspectorate (ETI) report.

Poor teaching standards, exam results below the Northern Ireland average, inadequate special needs provision, serious shortcomings in pastoral care and major deficiencies in management were all identified during an inspection at the school in January.

The school is also set to be in the red by £170,000 at the end of this financial year.

One of the teachers appeared before the school’s board of governors on Thursday.

The North Eastern Education and Library Board (NEELB) has refused to comment on the outcome of the meeting but the Telegraph can confirm that they will remain in their position at the school and will be given support by the board of governors and education board. Both this teacher and Dr Scott's performance had been deemed “unsatisfactory” by the inspectors.

A spokeswoman for the NEELB said that the board of governors will be meeting regularly to discuss the way forward for the school.

She added that a parents' meeting will take place tonight and will be attended by the temporary principal and representatives from the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education and the NEELB.

The education board said last week that Dr Scott will be “given the opportunity to undertake a programme of training and support outside the school”. Following this, she is expected to return to the school.

The Belfast Telegraph has also learned that the school challenged the pre-publication copy of the report.

A Department of Education spokesman said the queries were about the proportion of teachers who responded to an online questionnaire — a minor amendment was made. The messages from their responses were not queried.

The report said that the majority of teachers who filled in questionnaires expressed concern about key issues such as communication, staff input into school priorities, resources and the leadership of the principal.

He said that the evaluation of exam results was also queried.

“These comments were not accepted by the Education and Training Inspectorate,” the spokesman said. “The analysis of results in the report was in line with standard practice in post-primary inspection reports.

“There has been no further communication from the school since the report was published.”

Meanwhile, the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education (NICIE) has pledged to support the school with an action plan.

Noreen Campbell, from NICIE, said: “School improvement or failure is a collective responsibility.”

Belfast Telegraph